Joplin, Mo., mosque razed by second fire within a month

The Associated Press has the story:

A mosque in southwest Missouri burned to the ground early Monday in the second fire to hit the Islamic center in little more than a month, officials said. …

Imam Lahmuddin, who leads the mosque and was in the building until late Sunday, said he was ‘‘sad and shocked’’ about the fire.

‘‘I’m still in front of the building looking at the damage and nothing can be saved,’’ Lahmuddin said in a telephone interview Monday. ‘‘But since we are people of faith we just can remember that this is a thing that happened because God let it happen, and we have to be patient, particularly in the month of Ramadan, control our emotions, our anger.’’

A blaze at the same building July 4 caused minor damage and was determined arson. No arrests were made and the FBI has offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to charges in that fire.

Meanwhile, Episcopalians were among those who attended a recent interfaith event at the mosque. From the Joplin Globe:

Lahmuddin, the mosque’s imam, had invited members of local Christian churches and the United Hebrew Congregation to share with Muslims a Ramadan meal and information about their religions. ….

The Rev. Frank Sierra, at St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church, called Saturday’s gathering “a great event.”

“Instead of labeling people, we get to see them as fellow human beings — children of God — and that breaks down a lot of walls.”

All were unanimous about their support for the Muslim community in their time of hardship and their outrage over what may be a deliberate burning of the mosque. An investigation into the fire is still under way.

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